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Football: "Uniting this world is our responsibility", FIFA president says

FIFA President Gianni Infantino delivers his speech at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 17, 2024.   -  
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Sakchai Lalit/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


While conflicts rage around the world, FIFA's president made a plea for football to be a force for unity. Gianni Infantino spoke Friday (May. 17) at the opening of the body's Congress in Bangkok, Thailand.

"We are saying football unites the world. But we all know as well that today we are living in a very aggressive world, in a very divided world. So uniting this world is our responsibility. It is our answer to the aggression. Our answer to the hate. Our answer to the war."

This comes as FIFA seeks legal advice on a Palestinian proposal to suspend Israel from international football.

"I pray for the children who lost their parents. I pray for all those people who suffer the [unimaginable]. I pray for all of them. And, I want, like all of you, just one thing – just one thing: peace. Peace," he said.

“But, what can we do? What can we do? We are a football organisation and football is here to unite, not to divide. Sometimes, it’s easier to divide, as I said before, but, we are here to unite and I do not want to divide. I do not want to divide this Congress. I do not want to divide FIFA. I do not want to divide our 211 member countries. "

In early May, the UN General Assembly declares May 25 as World Football DayIn his adress, Infantino rebuked calls for a crowded international calendar to end. 

READ ALSO: UN General Assembly declares May 25 as World Football Day

Record revenue

Infantino told the delegates from all member countries that FIFA is responsible for only a small percentage of these matches, which are very lucrative.

In terms of senior football, FIFA was responsible for only a small percentage of men’s club and national team games involving top sides. In fact, he said, most of the football organised by FIFA consisted of youth competitions.

"The revenues that we generate are going to 211 countries all over the world. There is no other organisation that does that, and we do it with 1 to 2% of the games that are organised in the world."

"I hope that these figures, that you can all of course, check and calculate, show that we should probably stop this futile debate, which is really pointless, and focus on what we have to do, what our mission is, which is to organise events and competitions and to develop football around the world."

"Because 70% of you of the members of FIFA would have no football without the resources coming directly from FIFA."

FIFA’s revenue in 2023 amounted to 1,170 million dollars, 39% of whih came from marketing rights, 23% from television broadcasting rights, 15% from licensing rights, 7% from hospitality rights and tickets, and 16% from other revenue and income.